Valve boss Gabe Newell says that now that Steam's Big Picture mode has launched, the addition of Linux support is the next crucial step in developing its own hardware plans. The company already appears to be preparing itself with increased support for Linux in its games.
Newell told Kotaku that once Steam Linux is out of beta, and Big Picture can run on the Linux platform, it will give the company more flexibility to make its own hardware without using Windows as its backbone. The head of Valve has been critical of the Microsoft OS recently.
To that end, Engadget reports that the company has been updating select Steam games with Linux support as it continues to test the OS. Ubuntu is reportedly the most supported distribution available so far.
Once Linux and Big Picture are playing together nicely, Newell said that both Valve and other companies will create PC boxes meant for the living room. "We'll do it but we also think other people will as well," he said. "Certainly our hardware will be a very controlled environment. If you want more flexibility, you can always buy a more general purpose PC. For people who want a more turnkey solution, that's what some people are really gonna want for their living room. The nice thing about a PC is a lot of different people can try out different solutions, and customers can find the ones that work best for them." He also said these boxes could compete with the next-gen consoles coming from Microsoft and Sony.
Speculation surrounding Valve's approach to the hardware market kicked off with a report of a Steam box, which the company claimed were just Big Picture prototypes. More recently, the company has talked about developing hardware, though it wasn't clear if it was referring to experimental solutions like wearable computers.